Republicans picked up a total of eight Freeholder seats yesterday. The GOP regained control of the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, where former Red Bank Councilman John Curley defeated Middletown Township Committeeman Sean Byrnes by a massive 58%-38% margin. Republicans lost control in 2008 for the first time in more than twenty years; the GOP will now have a 3-2 majority.
In a stunning upset, Republicans picked up three seats on the Passaic County Board of Freeholders – the first GOP Freeholders wins since 2001. Republican Michael Marotta, Edward O'Connell, and Deborah Ciambrone defeated incumbent Tahesha Way, Haledon Mayor Domenick Stampone, and Evangaline Gomez. Way, the wife of former NFL player Charles Way, had been considered a rising star in New Jersey politics and was considered this summer as a potential candidate for Lt. Governor. Democrats still have their majority, but it went from 7-0 to 4-3 in one day.
In Bergen County, Republicans scored their first Freeholder seats since 2003. John Driscoll and Robert Hermansen ousted two incumbents, Julie O'Brien and Vernon Walton. Democrats went from a 7-0 majority to 5-2. The two Republicans won comfortably, even as the Democratic Governor was narrowly carrying Bergen County.
In Salem County, Republican Ben Laury unseated Democratic incumbent Jeffrey Hogan by 2,461 votes – a massive win by Salem standards. Democrat Beth Timberman was re-elected and Democrats held control of the Freeholder Board, going from 5-2 to 4-3.
In Cumberland County, Democrats Nelson Thompson and Louis Magazzu held their Freeholder seats, but Republican Tom Sheppard, the Lawrence Township Mayor, won an open seat. Democrats will go from a 7-0 majority to 6-1.
Republicans won in Burlington County and Atlantic counties, where control was at stake. In Burlington, the GOP easily held the seats of two retiring Freeholders, maintaining their 3-2 majority. In Atlantic, Republicans held all three of their Freeholder seats up this year, although Democrats came within 246 votes of upsetting At-Large Freeholder Frank Giordano.